Friday, May 8, 2015

Day 5.128 Smithy

We were talking about substance and style. Because it was my turn to speak, I added Ron McLarty as an author whom I admire. He was fresh in my mind because I recently finished listening to his "The Memory of Running" on audio CD. He has, I exchanged, an unassuming and clean stye, mixed with a knack for successful dialogue and observation. I finished the ten volume CD on top of Hurricane Ridge this morning.

The story is of Smithy Ide, who embarks on a cross country bike trip from Providence, RI to Venice, CA to claim his sister from a morgue. On his quest he runs into characters all having a story or two to share.

Smithy's quest brought back memories of the freedom and exhilaration I felt on my two trips up the coast from Playa del Rey, CA (a chip shot from Venice) and Bainbridge Island (a real island, not a Rhode) WA.

You know what being on a bike, riding every day, packing your sleeping gear on your back feels like? I heard Smithy ask no one in particular.

Yes. Yes I do Smithy. It is freedom, it has purpose, it is pure. But most important, it is authentic. There is nothing artificial. Your mission is to ride, taking in all the stimuli that only a bicycle provides, every day. And the melancholy of finally arriving is the sweetest sadness I have ever known.

As I drove back down the mountain I thought about that authenticity. Of making a video of it. Of trying to show and tell what it is like. Sometimes you have to go outside in the world to get inside your head. You have to physically exhaust the impurities and pollution our society spews. You have to sit on a beach, camp in the rain, ask questions and pin your faith, hope and trust on your sleeve.

You don't need to ask why this is.

You simply need to go.

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